Consider Helping Train the Trainers Transforming Teenagers’ Lives

Consider Helping Train the Trainers Transforming Teenagers’ Lives

Consider Helping Train the Trainers Transforming Teenagers’ Lives

ElevateStudents is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible.

The Beginning: In 2007, I had a vision of impacting the nation given to me in a snapshot. It was the last Wednesday of middle school ministry at Granger Community Church in Indiana before we launched into the summer program. It was a party; a celebration like no other. It also happened to be my last Wednesday as their middle school youth pastor before transitioning to Atlanta, GA. As our annual tradition called for, we crammed over 1,000 middle school students and leaders together to capture a rooftop photo. Those who see the picture say, “Were you trying to make it look like the United States?” In response, I laugh and tell them, “No, that would have been like trying to herd cats.” But, that’s exactly what it looked like.

It made sense that God would give me that particular Kodak moment. I was coming underneath one my heroes, Jeanne Mayo, mentoring youth pastors from across the nation in a life-transforming program known as the Cadre. However, while my hero and the Cadre were definitely part of the journey, I had not reached my ultimate destination. In 2012, I had discontent stirring inside of me that would not subside. The stirring was to leave the inside walls of the church and get outside and on to school campuses through a character and leadership development program.

The Program: Now the reality is there are a lot of campus clubs out there, but none that operate like I see in my minds-eye. It consists of a program (i.e. an intentional pathway) that teaches students what it means to “live a life of honor” through heroes in the form of small group coaches and engaging curriculum. While there is a point person, the majority of the curriculum is delivered in a small group format. Years of working with students has taught me that (1) life change happens best in circles not rows and (2) the loudest voice in a student’s life is their own. Lobbing a message out there and hoping it sticks is good, but not enough. “Stickiness” increases if (1) after arriving at their own conclusions, students speak the wisdom you were hoping to impart back to you, and (2) they take an action step to solidify what they learned. We call them Next Steps. It’s what my former senior pastor spoke into me each and every week for over two decades.

In ElevateStudents we have what we call a “Playoff Win” and a “Super Bowl Win.” The “Playoff Win” is if a student feels loved, cared for, and like they have someone to walk through life with, but that is not a “Super Bowl Win.” A “Super Bowl Win” is if they take Next Steps toward becoming the best version of themselves possible. What’s the discovery process to help them do that?

H – Hopes & Dreams: Help them to realize their hopes and dreams and put targets on the wall. While those hopes and dreams may change over time, the principles they learn along the way are transferrable.

O – Own: Life is a series of choices. Helping them to own their past choices and present circumstances is the starting point for change.

N – Next Steps: Knowing where they are (past choices and present circumstances) and their desired destination (hopes and dreams), helping them take the steps to get there is what’s next.

O – Opportunities: Teaching them to have eyes to see Next Step opportunities in EVERY area of their life (career, relationships, personal growth, etc.), not just the one we are zeroing in on that week, is crucial to overall success in life.

R – Relationships: Creating awareness of who is ahead of them to glean wisdom from, who is behind them to speak life into, and who is beside them on the journey is as important as anything.

The Insanity & The Ask: I feel called to give the coaching and three years of curriculum away for free! Do I know that is a horrible business plan? Yes. Bottom line, I want to remove the barriers that keep people from implementing the program. There are already costs involved in running the program (paper, copying, snacks, supplies, etc.); to add curriculum and coaching cost would put the program out of reach for many. So, I am asking you to think about coming alongside of me to provide it for them. Cost wise, I am not taking a dime in salary. I have an outside, flexible job that enables me to put a roof over my head and food on the table. I write the curriculum during my free time, so there is no cost there. The cost I can’t cover is the coaching portion. In athletics, you can’t improve someone’s game without being present on their turf. The same holds true in non-athletic arenas as well. I believe it is imperative that I help those wanting to implement the program to do it well the first time. So, I go to them to…

  • Train their first set of leaders so they can see how it’s done, especially the Next Step accountability portion.
  • Attend their launch to provide real-time coaching as they deliver the curriculum for the first time on their own.
  • Help with their first Honors Night in order to make it memorable for their students and leaders.

Once they get the first season under their belt, it’s smooth sailing. They can handle it from there. The desire is for the forerunners in the program to become regional coaches for others, so that multiplication can occur at a faster rate. In the fall of 2016 we launched in our first school in Arlington, TX. In spring 2017, four more locations were added. Numerous others are working toward launching ElevateStudents in fall 2017. As momentum increases, more avenues for funding will open up, but until then please consider investing in training the ElevateStudent leaders. By providing your email you will be kept informed of the multiplication of your investment in this generation of students. Any questions can be sent to

ElevateStudents: Consider Helping Train the Trainers Transforming Teenagers’ Lives

ElevateStudents is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Note: All donations go through for safe online giving.

Leave a Comment

Name *